Syria's Deputy Prime Minister Qadri Jamil has been dismissed for leaving the country and acting without government permission after meeting US officials in Switzerland, state media said.
The sacked minister is a member of what President Bashar al-Assad calls the “patriotic opposition” – political parties that consider themselves rivals to the President but have not joined the revolt against his rule.
“Mr Jamil was dismissed because he left his centre of work without prior permission and did not follow up on his duties... Additionally, he undertook activities outside the nation without co-ordinating with the government,” according to a statement on Syria TV.
US and Middle East officials told Reuters that Mr Jamil met the former American ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford, on Saturday in Geneva.
The two discussed the proposed “Geneva 2” talks that are intended to launch negotiations between Mr Assad’s government and the rebel movement seeking his removal.
“He saw Mr Ford after meeting Russian officials in Moscow. The meeting was long but useless,” the Middle East official said, asking not to be named.
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